Questions about raising chicks

Discussion in 'Raising Baby Chicks' started by happymom99, Feb 3, 2012.

  1. happymom99

    happymom99 Chillin' With My Peeps

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    Mar 6, 2011
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    Hello. We have 5 hens that we received as pullets so raising chicks is new for me. My 5-year-old son has his heart set on chicks and I would like to get him two. Of our five hens 1 is pretty friendly with him and he is hoping that if he gets chicks they will be more attached to him. If it were up to him, he'd like lap chickens.

    I would like to keep things as simple as possible and keep costs as low as I can too. I am going to get the chicks at the local feed store and would like to know if what I have in mind will work.

    • I am hoping to just use one of those big rubbermaid type of tubs as a brooder. Will this work? For two chicks, will this be big enough until they are ready to go out into the "big girl" coop?
    • At what age can I introduce them to the other hens?
    • Aside from food, water, a heat lamp and keeping their brooder space clean, is there anything else I need to think about?

    Thank you so much,
    CJ
     
  2. Tressa27884

    Tressa27884 Chillin' With My Peeps

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    Mar 27, 2011
    East Bay, Ca.
    The chicks can't go out with the big girls until they are fully feathered, and the introduction should be planned out. A big tub should work fine for two. The temperature needs to be right; that's always the biggest challenge. Other than that I would say do your best to get docile breed types. IME Cochins are the most gentle. However the LF Cochins get really big and heavy. What do you have now? Also IME stay away from RIR's as they tend to be nasty.

    As long as you are attentive, raising chicks is a blast. I love it. Of course you know this, but you'll have to watch your son with the babies. My daughter is two - and she also wants a lap chicken. We have a little bantam frizzle that she adores, but there are very strict rules about when she can and cannot play with 'Prima'.

    Good luck and have fun.....
     
  3. happymom99

    happymom99 Chillin' With My Peeps

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    Mar 6, 2011
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    At what age are they usually fully feathered? How big are they at that point? I am wondering how long they are going to be in the tub in my garage. Also, I am guessing I will need to figure out a cover for the tub or else they'll be trying to jump out. At what age does that start?

    Right now we have a Black Austrolorp, Gold Laced Cochin, Easter Egger/Americauna, Blue Andalusian and a Welsumer.

    Glad to hear that the tub will work. I don't want to get them and be stuck trying to figure out another home for them between the tub and the coop.

    Prima - what a cute name. :)

    Thank you for your reply! :)

    CJ
     
  4. Tressa27884

    Tressa27884 Chillin' With My Peeps

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    Mar 27, 2011
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    Oh Gee CJ, I can't honestly remember. There are far more educated people on here than me. It doesn't seem to take that long. The starting temp has to be 95 degrees and I think it goes down 5 degrees every day. The babies I buy from the feed store are usually a day old, and I seem to remember that I bought them the end of March and didn't have them outside full time until May or June. I think you can search out my old posts and get a better idea of whether or not that's true.

    Do you have a wire dog crate? I just bought an excercise pen for dogs to brood my babies in this year, but I keep mine in the living room. How tame are your hens? My Buff Brahma was great with my chicks last year and was very motherly to the babies. I'm hoping that one of my cochins will decide to raise some of these babies for me this year, but ...... you never know.

    They will get to the point where they jump out of the tub. I solved that by taking down a window screen and putting it over the top of the tub I used last year, but any configuration that allows the heat lamp to work is sufficient. Search out brooders on here and you'll find lots of creative ideas. Chicks are messy and dusty and require a fair amount of upkeep. You'll want to watch for pasty butt, and have a water system that they can't dump over or drown in. The feed stores usually sell waterers for chicks, but you can also use a shallow bowl filled with pebbles.

    Be warned that pullets are addictive! I planned on four and now have twelve hens and two roosters.

    Hope this helps. Read as much as you can, and enjoy!
     
  5. Fred's Hens

    Fred's Hens Chicken Obsessed Premium Member

    There is good brooding information here at BYC on the Basics 101

    Just to re-cap. The temperature should be 90. However, the chicks behavior is still the best indicator. If they are chirping loudly, they usually saying it is too cold. If they are panting, and standing with wings held up, they are being cooked and this is dangerous. The tupperware tub is notoriously a heat holder.

    It is normal to decrease the temperatures a bit, 5 degrees, each week, by raising the brooding bulb and/or eventually putting in a lower wattage bulb. Chicks are normally all feathered out and ready to live with no supplemental heat at 6 weeks.

    Introductions to the flock are TRICKY. The older birds can go so far as to kill the intruders. Integration is another matter altogether and a rather long subject.

    Click the "Learning Center" tab at the top of this page.
     
    Last edited: Feb 3, 2012
  6. Tressa27884

    Tressa27884 Chillin' With My Peeps

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    Thanks for chiming in Fred! It was late and I obviously didn't remember accurately.
     
  7. happymom99

    happymom99 Chillin' With My Peeps

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    Mar 6, 2011
    California
    Thank you for all of the great information. It helps a lot! :)

    CJ
     

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